Jill Courtemanche Millinery

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Behind the Scenes with KPBS

Solana Beach, PressJill CourtemancheComment

If you have spent 5 minutes chatting with me in the shop, you know I love nothing more than to talk about millinery, it's place in fashion and how passionate I am about being able to do something I love. So you can only imagine how excited I was when the lovely Maya Trabulsi, a reporter for KPBS called me and asked if she could do a story about me and my shop (the answer of course is that I was over the moon)!

Maya had lived in London and developed her own fascination with hats so it was really fun for me to spend time with someone who walked in the door, armed with a vast knowledge and appreciation for the craft. We spent the morning chatting about hats, how they are made, my background and what brought me to millinery. One of the most fun parts for me was personifying all of the noises that go on in my studio on a daily basis since they were not just shooting footage but recording for the radio as well, (seriously cool)!

The original piece aired back in July right before Opening Day at Del Mar Racetrack but it is re-airing nationally this Saturday, September 12th on PBS's Spectrum (check you local listings for the channel and air time). Better yet you can view it on-line here but if you do that you miss the amazing teaser that Maya put together which was my favorite part of the piece!

This was such a memorable experience for me. I have done tv before but it has always been live, in studio news segments. This was the first time I had the opportunity to sit down and watch it as a spectator with my family and friends. It truly has been a milestone for me and my career and as always I am thrilled to have a platform to educate people on how amazing millinery is and what it means to me as an artist!

Update: On June 11, 2016, Maya Trabulsi won an Emmy Award for her work this piece, congratulation Maya!

Here are a few behind the scenes pictures from the shoot:

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San Diego Polo

Polo, Solana Beach, FashionJill CourtemancheComment

Polo is one of my favorite outdoor events of the season and I am so excited to once again be partnering with the San Diego Polo Club for some fun events!

Jill Courtemanche Millinery will be doing a series of three Pop-Up Shops this summer at the SD Polo fields and the first one is this Sunday, June 28th from 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm! We would love to have you join us as our guest and we are giving away free General Admission tickets (while supplies last). Simply call us at 858.876.6353 or shoot us an email and we will give you all the info!

Not sure what to wear to a day of polo? Check out Zen Fashionista, Sonya Berg's guest post on the SD Polo Blog for the scoop or better yet, hunker down with some popcorn and re-watch the polo scene from Pretty Woman (that's what I would do)!

Additional Pop-Up Shop Dates for SD Polo are July 5th & August 30th, I hope to see you there!

Paris - la deuxiéme partie

TravelJill CourtemancheComment

It only seems fair to share some "behind the scenes" info from my time in Paris! I am a creature of habit and tend to never forget where I had a good meal, (seriously, you can ask Cassie how many times on our trip I said "Oh, right next to that place there is a café with an amazing...", or "I think just around this corner is a pastry shop where I remember having an amazing...". There is no doubt that I can navigate Paris on food memory alone! 

So here are a few of the delicious morsels I ate:

Top row: A ham & cheese omelet at a bistro in the Marais (my first meal on any trip to Paris - always), the religieuse au chocolat at Laduréé, coffee and croissants at Café Flore, A seriously delicious country tartine at Au Petit Suisse, coffee and viennoiserie at Eric Kayser (the pink is a Brioche aux Pralines Roses and it's a must!)

Bottom row: Chicken with morel mushrooms and a caramel soufflé at l'Auberge Bressane, the goat cheese tartine at Le Bouillon, a chicken salad at Cuisine de Bar, and a steak frites at Chez René (get the chocolate mousse - but I should hope that's a given).

A few of my other favorite food stops in Paris: for caramels Fouquet, for a cocktail Ferdi or the bar at Hotel Costes, for grab and go to picnic La Grand Epicerie.

Of course I didn't just eat! I also spent a lot of time just walking around, people watching and exploring. Here are a few of the things that caught my eye:

Top row: Notre Dame at dusk, Pont des Amoureux covered in love locks, flowers at the Hotel Costes flower shop, le tour d'eiffel (and a perfect fall day).

Middle row: In general I just adore vintage cars regardless of the city they're in, lightening in the pyramid of the Louvre, street art, le tour at night.

Bottom row: Street art, the wall of the Concorde métro stop, my favorite fountain in le Jardin des Tuileries (I got engaged here many years ago), and christmas decorations hanging from the cupola of Galeries Lafayette.

I will leave you with a photo from one of the most special moments of this trip! I will let the story of how we got here remain a mystery (although clearly it was happenstance, because if I would have known it was going to happen I surely would have put some bloody make-up on), but we were lucky enough to be escorted into the private apartment of Coco Chanel, at 5 rue Chambon. Just seeing this mirrored staircase, the scene of so much Chanel history was pretty thrilling and the experience was truly something I will never forget. 

Until next year Paris! xo j-co

Fall in Paris

TravelJill CourtemancheComment

Paris is hands down one of my favorite cities! There is nothing like drinking in the food, fashion and culture first hand. I have been lucky enough to spend a fair amount time here over the years and the city holds some of my greatest memories (I got engaged here, it doesn't get better than that). This time around I had the pleasure of making the trip with one of my best friends and fellow milliners Cassie MacGregor from The House of MacGregor in Dallas, Texas.

One of the things that makes a JCM hat a cut above is that I work hard to source the best materials and one of the best places to buy those materials is Paris. There are still many ateliers where gorgeous silk flowers are being made by hand, entire shops dedicated to selling gorgeous ribbons woven in France and basement studios where one can find rabbit fur felt in the most divine, saturated colors. Everything is so beautiful, the colors and textures so rich and the added bonus of working one on one with the women who bring it all to life, it's just such a treat!

On this trip I focused on shopping for an array of beautiful straws and one of a kind trims to make hats for the Kentucky Derby and Opening Day at Del Mar. I filled the coffers with the most gorgeous flowers and feather trims to create stand out hats and to give clients shopping for custom creations an endless selection of options to choose from.

Wander through the pictures below to see some of the treasures I brought home as well at some of the artisans at work creating their beautiful pieces. It was an incredible, fun filled and inspiring trip and one that is sure to have a large impression on the spring / summer collection!

Don't worry, there is more to come on my trip to Paris! In my next post I will share some of my favorite places to eat and shop, because let's face it all work and no play, is no way to spend your time in Paris. xo j-co